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Don’t Think Twice, It’s “Alt-right”: Nazi Fellow Traveler Chuck Johnson Helping Trump Transition Team

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The group Charles "Chuck" Johnson networked with in Washingon D.C.

The group Charles “Chuck” John­son net­worked with in Washin­gon D.C.

Charles "Chuck" Johnson

Charles “Chuck” John­son

COMMENT: Noto­ri­ous troll, blog­ger and Naz­i/white-suprema­cist fel­low trav­el­er Charles “Chuck” John­son has sub­stan­tive input in Trump’s cab­i­net selec­tions. Worth not­ing is the fact that John­son may be oper­at­ing in tan­dem with Peter Thiel, whose data­base named the “Plum List” bears a strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ty to a web­site “ThePlumlist.com,” appar­ent­ly being used by John­son to help staff Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion.

“ . . . . Despite his dis­re­gard for facts and reck­less approach to pub­lish­ing, John­son, who was recent­ly pho­tographed at a din­ner attend­ed by white suprema­cists in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., built a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing among many who self-iden­ti­fied as being a part of the ‘alt-right.’ Trump drew sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from those same fol­low­ers dur­ing the elec­tion. . . . .”

John­son is now appar­ent­ly secret­ly help­ing the Trump team staff the Exec­u­tive Branch despite being an open white suprema­cist neo-Nazi troll. Or per­haps because of that. Either way, if this report is accu­rate he’s not just pass­ing along a few sug­ges­tions to Peter Thiel. He helped cre­ate a data­base of poten­tial appointees:

” . . . . John­son also helped cre­ate a data­base where poten­tial polit­i­cal appointees could send in their resumes to be con­sid­ered for gov­ern­ment posi­tions. He has access to the web­site ThePlumlist.com, and though the recent­ly cre­at­ed web­site remains dor­mant, can­di­dates have been told to send their infor­ma­tion to an email account asso­ci­at­ed with that domain. In Novem­ber, The Dai­ly Mail report­ed that Thiel main­tains a data­base called the “Plum List” to track poten­tial hires and qual­i­fied appli­cants. Sources famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion described the list as an intake sys­tem for the team, and said it was sep­a­rate from the ver­sion that Thiel and his clos­est asso­ciates use to track final selec­tions that are for­ward­ed to Trump. . . .” 

While Charles C. John­son may not tech­ni­cal­ly be the Helene von Damm of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion (the Direc­tor of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel is John DeSte­fano), he may well be play­ing a sim­i­lar role.

In that con­text, we note that John DeStanfo was only named the Direc­tor of Pres­i­den­tial Per­son­nel about a week ago, sug­gest­ing that the Trump team has prob­a­bly been a lot more depen­dent on the rec­om­men­da­tions of folks like Thiel and John­son for the first cou­ple months of the tran­si­tion peri­od than they want to admit.

Those won­der­ing if Trump was going to be fill­ing his admin­is­tra­tion with “Alt-Right” neo-Nazis, the answer appears to be that he already is, and those neo-Nazis are help­ing him pick the rest of his staff.

Recall that Thiel also bankrolled Ron Paul’s Super Pac in the 2012 elec­tion. Paul moves in white suprema­cist cir­cles as well.

“A Troll Out­side Trump Tow­er Is Help­ing To Pick Your Next Gov­ern­ment” by Ryan Mac and Matt Drange; Forbes; 1/9/2017.

An inter­net troll, who was once called “the most hat­ed man on the inter­net” and is banned from Twit­ter, is rec­om­mend­ing can­di­dates to serve in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Charles “Chuck” John­son, a con­tro­ver­sial blog­ger and con­ser­v­a­tive online per­son­al­i­ty, has been push­ing for var­i­ous polit­i­cal appointees to serve under Don­ald Trump, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple sources close to the President-elect’s tran­si­tion team. While John­son does not have a for­mal posi­tion, FORBES has learned that he is work­ing behind the scenes with mem­bers of the tran­si­tion team’s exec­u­tive com­mit­tee, includ­ing bil­lion­aire Trump donor Peter Thiel, to rec­om­mend, vet and give some­thing of a seal of approval to poten­tial nom­i­nees from the so-called “alt-right.”

The prox­im­i­ty to pow­er is some­thing new for John­son, a self-described “jour­nal­ist, author and debunker of frauds,” who has made a name for him­self by ped­dling false infor­ma­tion and right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries online. In the months lead­ing up to the elec­tion, John­son, 28, used social media and his web­site GotNews.com to stump for the Pres­i­dent-elect while also pub­lish­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion on Trump’s detrac­tors. Now, John­son is help­ing to pick some of the lead­ers who may run the coun­try for the next four years.

FORBES ver­i­fied Johnson’s involve­ment with mul­ti­ple peo­ple close to the tran­si­tion team who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not autho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly. When asked about his work with the tran­si­tion team, John­son said last month that he had “no for­mal role,” and was vague regard­ing his lev­el of influ­ence. John­son agreed to mul­ti­ple phone and email inter­views with FORBES in Decem­ber, but he declined to return repeat­ed fol­low-up requests for com­ment this month.

“Whether I am lis­tened to or not remains to be seen,” John­son wrote in an email to FORBES in Decem­ber. “I am by and large pret­ty hap­py with the gov­ern­ment select­ed thus far, though I am sor­ry to say that a lot of the can­di­dates that I favor have not been select­ed.”

Johnson’s state­ments came before his appear­ance on an online radio show with lib­er­tar­i­an blog­ger Ste­fan Molyneux on Dec. 22 dur­ing which John­son declared that he had been “doing a lot of vet­ting for the admin­is­tra­tion and the Trump tran­si­tion.”

The dis­clo­sure of Johnson’s involve­ment comes at a time of intense scruti­ny for Trump’s tran­si­tion team, whose cab­i­net picks will begin Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings this week. Those hear­ings are mov­ing for­ward despite the fact that, as of this week­end, the Office of Gov­ern­ment Ethics had not com­plet­ed its review of mul­ti­ple appointees. It is unprece­dent­ed for the Sen­ate to hold con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings for a President-elect’s nom­i­nees before for­mal back­ground checks are com­plet­ed.

Trump spokes­woman Hope Hicks did not return a request for com­ment. Jere­mi­ah Hall, a spokesman for Thiel, declined to com­ment.

While Twit­ter banned John­son in May 2015 after threat­en­ing a Black Lives Mat­ters activist, he made a name for him­self as an inter­net troll, or an online per­son­al­i­ty who antag­o­nizes oth­ers by post­ing inflam­ma­to­ry or mis­lead­ing infor­ma­tion. Among his exploits, John­son has pub­lished the home address­es of New York Times reporters, wrong­ly iden­ti­fied a woman he thought was the source of Rolling Stone’s now-retract­ed sto­ry of an alleged rape at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia and claimed that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is gay.

“On Twit­ter, like, I have a cer­tain kind of per­son­al­i­ty, a pugna­cious­ness, like an alter ego,” he said in 2014 to Moth­er Jones. “You know, like when Spi­der-Man puts on the cos­tume, for instance, he’s no longer a mild-man­nered pho­tog­ra­ph­er. He has an atti­tude. I do that because I want my con­tent to real­ly go viral.”

John­son por­trays Got­News as an alter­na­tive to the “lying main­stream media.” He said it receives 2.5 mil­lion page views per month. (Quant­cast esti­mat­ed in the last 30 days that about 246,000 peo­ple have vis­it­ed the site.) Recent sto­ries include a piece on Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz’s sup­pos­ed­ly immi­nent Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion and anoth­er on Trump’s “biggest regret” in sup­port­ing John McCain’s 2016 Sen­ate re-elec­tion run.

Despite his dis­re­gard for facts and reck­less approach to pub­lish­ing, John­son, who was recent­ly pho­tographed at a din­ner attend­ed by white suprema­cists in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., built a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing among many who self-iden­ti­fied as being a part of the “alt-right.” Trump drew sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from those same fol­low­ers dur­ing the elec­tion.

Mike Cer­novich, anoth­er pro-Trump troll who is friends with John­son, said that John­son often has a hand in behind-the-scenes pol­i­tics. “The media real­ly likes to hate on [John­son],” Cer­novich said. “But if they knew how influ­en­tial he has been–in ways they didn’t know–it would be kind of mind blow­ing.”

John­son, who bold­ly pre­dict­ed against con­ven­tion­al wis­dom and polls that Trump would win, and who was spot­ted in the VIP sec­tion at Trump’s elec­tion night par­ty, began work­ing with the tran­si­tion team short­ly after Nov. 8. Among his con­tacts with­in Manhattan’s Trump Tow­er, where the Pres­i­dent-elect has set up camp, is Thiel, a mem­ber of the transition’s exec­u­tive com­mit­tee. A Pay­Pal cofounder and Face­book board mem­ber whose vast net­work of Sil­i­con Val­ley con­nec­tions has made him invalu­able to the Pres­i­dent-elect, Thiel has over­seen many of the sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy appoint­ments for the incom­ing admin­is­tra­tion.

John­son has helped in that effort, push­ing for at least a dozen poten­tial can­di­dates to Thiel, includ­ing Ajit Pai, a com­mis­sion­er at the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion, whom John­son hopes will lead the orga­ni­za­tion under Trump. Pai declined to com­ment for this sto­ry. As a Repub­li­can mem­ber of the FCC, Pai is a nat­ur­al can­di­date to be con­sid­ered for the chair­man­ship of the agency, and Johnson’s rec­om­men­da­tion sug­gests he’s also favored by a seg­ment of the self-described “alt-right.”

Beyond rec­om­mend­ing can­di­dates, John­son has also helped set up meet­ings between poten­tial appointees and tran­si­tion team mem­bers. He has worked with Jim O’Neill, who is being con­sid­ered to head the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion and is cur­rent­ly employed by Thiel at San Fran­cis­co-based invest­ment firm Mithril Cap­i­tal. John­son has tried to arrange for O’Neill to meet with con­ser­v­a­tive influ­encers and polit­i­cal groups in an effort to build sup­port for his poten­tial FDA nom­i­na­tion. O’Neill declined to com­ment.

John­son also helped cre­ate a data­base where poten­tial polit­i­cal appointees could send in their resumes to be con­sid­ered for gov­ern­ment posi­tions. He has access to the web­site ThePlumlist.com, and though the recent­ly cre­at­ed web­site remains dor­mant, can­di­dates have been told to send their infor­ma­tion to an email account asso­ci­at­ed with that domain. In Novem­ber, The Dai­ly Mail report­ed that Thiel main­tains a data­base called the “Plum List” to track poten­tial hires and qual­i­fied appli­cants. Sources famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion described the list as an intake sys­tem for the team, and said it was sep­a­rate from the ver­sion that Thiel and his clos­est asso­ciates use to track final selec­tions that are for­ward­ed to Trump.

John­son denied work­ing with Thiel, and said the two had “only a pass­ing famil­iar­i­ty.” John­son added that he and Thiel “share some of the same ene­mies,” a ref­er­ence to the now defunct news orga­ni­za­tion, Gawk­er Media. Thiel secret­ly bankrolled for­mer pro­fes­sion­al wrestler Hulk Hogan’s land­mark inva­sion of pri­va­cy law­suit against the New York media orga­ni­za­tion, which ulti­mate­ly led to the company’s bank­rupt­cy. Sep­a­rate­ly, John­son sued Gawk­er in a Cal­i­for­nia court for defama­tion after the web­site pub­lished a series of crit­i­cal and abra­sive sto­ries about him.

FORBES pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that John­son, while explor­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion for his case, had a phone dis­cus­sion with lawyers at Hard­er Mirell & Abrams, the law firm that Thiel paid to rep­re­sent Hogan, and that Johnson’s case had been pitched to oth­er Los Ange­les law firms as part of a wider legal strat­e­gy against Gawk­er. Johnson’s law­suit remains on hold, pend­ing a hear­ing lat­er this month in fed­er­al bank­rupt­cy court to deter­mine the fate of Gawk­er Media’s remain­ing assets.

If Gawk­er is John­son and Thiel’s shared ene­my, then Trump advi­sor and chief strate­gist Stephen Ban­non is their most promi­nent mutu­al ally. John­son worked for Ban­non at Bre­it­bart News, where Ban­non served as exec­u­tive chair­man before join­ing Trump’s cam­paign last year. “I liked [Ban­non], and was close to him,” John­son said in a Decem­ber phone inter­view.

Last fall, John­son and Ban­non led an effort pri­or to the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial debate in Octo­ber to stage a press con­fer­ence with Trump and four women who have accused Bill Clin­ton of rape, sex­u­al assault or sex­u­al harass­ment and Hillary Clin­ton of pro­tect­ing an alleged sex­u­al crim­i­nal. John­son claimed to have helped raise more than $10,000 for one of those women, Kath­leen Shelton–who alleged that she was raped in 1975 by a man who Hillary Clin­ton lat­er rep­re­sent­ed as a pub­lic defender–to attend the event.

While John­son denied his recent work with Thiel, he freely dis­cussed his efforts to influ­ence the tran­si­tion team through his old boss, Ban­non. Still, John­son insist­ed that while Ban­non takes his opin­ion into con­sid­er­a­tion, his rec­om­men­da­tions are some­times ignored. “Imag­ine you had an ex-boss who became the con­sigliere to the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” John­son told FORBES last month. “You can’t be like, ‘Dude, you’re f***ing up.’”

Alexan­dra Preate, a spokesper­son for Ban­non, did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests for com­ment.

The full extent of Johnson’s involve­ment in the tran­si­tion is not clear, though sev­er­al of his asso­ciates have also inter­faced with the team in recent weeks. FORBES has learned that Cer­novich and Jeff Giesea, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based entre­pre­neur who worked for Thiel in the past, have also been in con­tact with tran­si­tion team mem­bers, accord­ing to sources. Giesea declined to com­ment, while Cer­novich dis­cussed the tran­si­tion team’s agen­da but remained vague when pressed for details of his own work.

“I want to be free to say what­ev­er I want to say. And in a way that lim­its what I can do offi­cial­ly,” Cer­novich said, deny­ing that he has had any direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Thiel or oth­er mem­bers of the tran­si­tion team. “I don’t want any­one to get jammed up, vis-à-vis any asso­ci­a­tion with me.”

Cer­novich and Giesea have also orga­nized a par­ty for Trump sup­port­ers in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. lat­er this month dubbed the “Deplora­Ball.” Cer­novich said that 1,000 tick­ets have been sold for the event, which is billed as “the biggest meme ever” and will take place at the Nation­al Press Club on the eve of Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion. John­son said the event was about giv­ing voice to a group of peo­ple who, until Trump’s land­mark vic­to­ry in Novem­ber, were often ignored by the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment. When asked if he felt that he had got­ten cred­it for his recent work, John­son said, “Not as much as I deserve.”

John­son attrib­uted much of the work that he and oth­ers have done in sup­port of Trump to being able to tap into vot­ers’ emo­tions through memes, such as the Pepe the Frog car­toon that became an infor­mal mas­cot for Trump sup­port­ers. John­son said that memes rep­re­sent a new way for peo­ple to dis­cuss nation­al pol­i­tics, which he said is dom­i­nat­ed by a “white paper” mind­set pred­i­cat­ed on debat­ing pol­i­cy mer­its based on fact rather than emo­tion. To hear John­son tell it, the suc­cess of this approach is evi­denced by the vis­cer­al reac­tion to memes that gen­er­at­ed wide­spread atten­tion and influ­enced pub­lic per­cep­tion dur­ing Trump’s rise to pow­er, despite hav­ing lit­tle or no basis in fact.

 

Discussion

2 comments for “Don’t Think Twice, It’s “Alt-right”: Nazi Fellow Traveler Chuck Johnson Helping Trump Transition Team”

  1. This next arti­cle has some very inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion about Chuck John­son. Rep. Andy Har­ris (R‑MD) con­firmed to TPM Wednes­day that he’d had “a dis­cus­sion” with Holo­caust denier and right-wing troll Chuck C. John­son. He issued a state­ment which said he “had a dis­cus­sion involv­ing his busi­ness with genet­ic sequenc­ing,” This ref­er­ence is inter­est­ing and I have to won­der if it includes themes such as racial supe­ri­or­i­ty. John­son raised mon­ey for white suprema­cist Richard Spencer’s legal defense fund.

    The arti­cle also reveals that John­son “attend­ed a meet­ing in the Ecuado­ri­an embassy in Lon­don with Rep. Dana Rohrabach­er (R‑CA) and Wik­ileaks founder Julian Assange. He sub­se­quent­ly met with Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) who I sus­pect that along with his father appears to sup­port Nazi caus­es.

    An Octo­ber 2017 Dai­ley Caller arti­cle list­ed below shows that Repub­li­can Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Dana Rohrabach­er met with Repub­li­can Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul last Thurs­day and dis­cussed lever­ag­ing Paul’s close rela­tion­ship with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to let the pres­i­dent know that Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange is will­ing to divulge infor­ma­tion about the source of leaked emails. The ques­tion one has to ask is why would a Con­gress­man and Sen­a­tor con­tact Julian Assange who has released US clas­si­fied doc­u­ments to the pub­lic. Is this not trea­so­nous behav­ior by those elect­ed offi­cials or are they part of a very com­plex plot to serve fas­cist inter­ests?

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/andy-harris-unware-chuck-johnson-holocaust-denier-previous-associations

    GOP Rep. Says He Was ‘Unaware’ Of Holo­caust Denier Chuck Johnson’s ‘Pre­vi­ous Asso­ci­a­tions’
    Matt Shuham

    Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group
    Jan­u­ary 16, 2019 7:00 pm

    Rep. Andy Har­ris (R‑MD) con­firmed to TPM Wednes­day that he’d had “a dis­cus­sion” with Holo­caust denier and right-wing troll Chuck C. John­son.

    In a state­ment Har­ris’ press sec­re­tary shared with TPM Wednes­day evening, the con­gress­man said he was “unaware of his pre­vi­ous asso­ci­a­tions.”

    “I am unaware of his pre­vi­ous asso­ci­a­tions, but we had a dis­cus­sion involv­ing his busi­ness with genet­ic sequenc­ing,” the state­ment read. “Of course I dis­avow and con­demn white suprema­cy and anti-semi­tism.”

    HuffPost’s Matt Fuller post­ed a pic­ture of Har­ris and John­son, along­side some­one who appeared to be Rep. Phil Roe (R‑TN), on Wednes­day:

    John­son, whose web­site once raised mon­ey for white suprema­cist Richard Spencer’s legal defense fund, has ties to oth­er mem­bers of Con­gress, as well.

    Last year, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R‑FL) was crit­i­cized for giv­ing John­son a tick­et to the State of the Union address. (Gaetz told the Dai­ly Beast that John­son just “showed up at my office,” and that he had no pri­or rela­tion­ship with him.)

    And, the year pri­or, John­son attend­ed a meet­ing in the Ecuado­ri­an embassy in Lon­don with Rep. Dana Rohrabach­er (R‑CA) and Wik­ileaks founder Julian Assange. Soon after, Rohrabach­er brought John­son to a meet­ing with Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY).

    “I do not and nev­er have believed the six mil­lion fig­ure,” John­son wrote in a 2017 Red­dit AMA (“Ask Me Any­thing”), first flagged by Lit­tle Green Foot­balls, refer­ring to Jews who were killed in the Holo­caust.

    John­son lat­er claimed “I am not, nor have I ever been a Holo­caust denier,” and said the com­ments were, in Moth­er Jones’ words, “part of a secret trolling exper­i­ment he was run­ning.”

    Linked Arti­cle:
    https://dailycaller.com/2017/10/10/rohrabacher-rand-paul-met-to-discuss-assange-giving-up-wikileaks-source-to-us-government/

    ROHRABACHER, RAND PAUL MET TO DISCUSS ASSANGE GIVING UP WIKILEAKS SOURCE TO US GOVERNMENT
    2:10 PM 10/10/2017 | POLITICS
    Alex Pfeif­fer | White House Cor­re­spon­dent
    Repub­li­can Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Dana Rohrabach­er met with Repub­li­can Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul last Thurs­day and dis­cussed lever­ag­ing Paul’s close rela­tion­ship with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to let the pres­i­dent know that Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange is will­ing to divulge infor­ma­tion about the source of leaked emails.

    Rep. Rohrabach­er told The Dai­ly Caller about the meet­ing dur­ing a phone inter­view Tues­day.
    “Rand Paul says the pres­i­dent calls him every now and then. I want­ed to make sure that when [Trump] calls him that [Paul] knew enough about the Julian Assange offer that I found some­thing of val­ue for the pres­i­dent to look at,” Rohrabach­er told TheDC.

    He added that Paul was “very open to the idea of men­tion­ing it to the pres­i­dent next time the pres­i­dent called him.”

    Sen. Paul’s office declined to com­ment. Rohrabach­er said that Paul was joined by a few of his staffers, and that the Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­man brought along top aide Paul Behrends and con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ist Charles C. John­son.

    Rohrabach­er met with Assange at the Ecuado­ri­an embassy in Lon­don in August in a meet­ing that John­son claimed to have arranged. Assange took asy­lum in the embassy in 2012 after fac­ing sex­u­al assault charges in Swe­den that have since been dropped. The Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­man told TheDC that Assange wants to leave the embassy and would need a deal with the U.S. in order to do so. (RELATED: Rohrabach­er Says Assange Could Be Par­doned For Info About DNC Leak Source)
    The meet­ing with Paul came a week after Rohrabach­er told TheDC that top White House aides are block­ing infor­ma­tion about the Wik­iLeaks founder’s offer to prove that Rus­sia was not behind the hack­ing and leak­ing of Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee emails dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion. The U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has alleged that the Krem­lin was, in fact, involved. 

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment is report­ed­ly inves­ti­gat­ing Assange for his role in dis­sem­i­nat­ing thou­sands of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments. Rohrabach­er said that Assange wouldn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly need a par­don from Pres­i­dent Trump in order to give up the source of the emails, just an assur­ance that he won’t be pros­e­cut­ed.

    Update:
    Assange dis­put­ed some of Rohrabacher’s com­ments in a tweet Wednes­day.

    “Dis­grace­ful report­ing. Wik­iLeaks nev­er has and nev­er will reveal a source. Offers have been made to me–not the oth­er way around. I do not speak to the pub­lic through third par­ties,” Assange tweet­ed in response to this arti­cle.

    Rohrabacher’s spokesman Ken Grubbs told TheDC that the con­gress­man stands by all of his remarks.

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 18, 2019, 5:25 pm
  2. Here’s one of those sto­ries that’s a reminder that, while the ascen­dan­cy of an open­ly white nation­al­ist fig­ure like Don­ald Trump to the Pres­i­den­cy rep­re­sents the for­mal embrace of white nation­al­ism by the Repub­li­can Par­ty, the infil­tra­tion and takeover of the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment at an insti­tu­tion­al lev­el by fig­ures with ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazi sen­ti­ments has been going on for while. And in plain site: Right-Wing Watch just pub­lished an inves­tiga­tive piece reveal­ing how a main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive author, Michael J. Thomp­son, who worked for years at places like the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute — which trains thou­sands of con­ser­v­a­tive activists — has a neo-Nazi alter-ego. Thomp­son has for years pub­lished viru­ent­ly racist screeds the pseu­do­nym “Kersey” for years. And while this was a secret to the pub­lic, it was more of an open secret to his peers with­in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment:

    The Guardian

    White nation­al­ist has long worked at con­ser­v­a­tive out­lets under real name

    Guardian find­ings sup­port watchdog’s report that ‘Paul Kersey’, a promi­nent author and activist, is actu­al­ly Michael J Thomp­son

    Jason Wil­son

    Mon 3 Feb 2020 09.00 EST
    Last mod­i­fied on Mon 3 Feb 2020 14.55 EST

    A new report has revealed that a promi­nent white nation­al­ist author, activist and pod­cast­er known as “Paul Kersey” has in fact worked for more than a decade at main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tions and media out­lets under his real name.

    Accord­ing to an inves­ti­ga­tion by the not-for-prof­it media out­let Right Wing Watch (RWW), the man who has worked under the Kersey pseu­do­nym is in fact Michael J Thomp­son.

    The Guardian has uncov­ered addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al that sup­ports report­ing by RWW, and fur­ther indi­cates Thompson’s role in mould­ing rightwing activists from a posi­tion near the heart of America’s most influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tions.

    The RWW inves­ti­ga­tion, pub­lished on Mon­day, reveals the work of “Paul Kersey”, whom it calls a “bare­ly under­ground mem­ber of the white nation­al­ist move­ment” and a fix­ture on the ros­ter of racist media out­lets and cam­paign groups.

    But it also shows that Thomp­son worked under his own name at insti­tu­tions like the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, its media arm Cam­pus Reform, and WND, for­mer­ly World Net Dai­ly, a once-pop­u­lar con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed con­ser­v­a­tive out­let, as late as Novem­ber 2018.

    It also shows how his WND posi­tion allowed him to move in pro­fes­sion­al cir­cles that includ­ed white nation­al­ists, writ­ers from Bre­it­bart and the Dai­ly Caller and promi­nent Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers includ­ing Steve Ban­non and Jack Poso­biec.

    RWW deter­mined Thompson’s iden­ti­ty part­ly through a foren­sic voice test on audio record­ings and part­ly through emails and tes­ti­mo­ny pro­vid­ed by Katie McHugh, a for­mer far-right insid­er and Bre­it­bart writer.

    Evi­dence from McHugh under­pinned report­ing by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC) that showed how Trump’s close aide Stephen Miller attempt­ed to insert white nation­al­ist themes into Breitbart’s cov­er­age of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    Using the “Paul Kersey” pseu­do­nym in online columns for out­lets like VDare and Amer­i­can Renais­sance, Thomp­son has for years whipped up racist fears about black crime; pro­mot­ed racial para­noia about a demo­graph­ic “Great Replace­ment” of white Amer­i­cans; and spread false­hoods about the genet­ic infe­ri­or­i­ty of non-whites.

    Accord­ing to RWW, he has run an influ­en­tial far-right blog, Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like, since 2009. The blog is focused on pro­mot­ing false white nation­al­ist ideas about race and crime.

    He has also reg­u­lar­ly appeared as a guest on white nation­al­ist pod­casts includ­ing Red Ice, The Polit­i­cal Cesspool and Richard Spencer’s AltRight Radio and is cur­rent­ly the co-host of a pod­cast pro­duced by a promi­nent SPLC-des­ig­nat­ed hate group, Amer­i­can Renais­sance.

    But in 2010, RWW reports, he was named in a press release from the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute as work­ing in their cam­pus ser­vices pro­gram. The Guardian was able to con­firm this by access­ing an archived staff page for Cam­pus Reform, the Lead­er­ship Institute’s online vehi­cle for the pros­e­cu­tion of on-cam­pus cul­ture wars.

    The Lead­er­ship Insti­tute is one of the longest-stand­ing insti­tu­tions in the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, focused on train­ing young activists. It claims to have trained 200,000 such young con­ser­v­a­tives over 40 years, in skills includ­ing pub­lic speak­ing, cam­paign­ing and fundrais­ing.

    In a series of archived snap­shots from the Cam­pus Reform staff page from Sep­tem­ber 2009 to July 2010, Thomp­son was list­ed as cam­pus ser­vices coor­di­na­tor for the west­ern region. This sug­gests he began his pseu­do­ny­mous white nation­al­ist blog while employed by the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute and its media arm.

    Cam­pus Reform’s web­site was estab­lished at the begin­ning of 2009, accord­ing to Domain Name Sys­tem records. It has typ­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed so-called polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and pro­fes­sors it deems to be left­ists.

    Using inter­net archiv­ing ser­vices, the Guardian was able to access the full text of pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed Cam­pus Reform arti­cles by Thomp­son. In the bylines for those arti­cles, writ­ten in 2009 and 2010, he is described as a “Cam­pus Reform reporter”.

    In the arti­cles that were archived and acces­si­ble, Thomp­son does not open­ly use the vocab­u­lary of white nation­al­ism but does explore themes such as race and immi­gra­tion.

    One May 2010 arti­cle crit­i­cizes Col­orado State stu­dents for stag­ing a walk­out in protest against a hard­line immi­gra­tion law passed in Ari­zona in 2010 and high­lights the involve­ment of some stu­dents with an immi­grant rights group, La Raza.

    Anoth­er bemoans the deci­sion of a Wash­ing­ton state pub­lic col­lege, Ever­green State, to fund a vis­it by the aca­d­e­m­ic and civ­il rights activist Angela Davis, call­ing her a “Marx­ist agi­ta­tor”.

    ...

    Thomp­son leads with com­plaints about polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness; news of anti-abor­tion, pro-gun and media activism by con­ser­v­a­tive stu­dents; and exhor­ta­tions to run for stu­dent gov­ern­ment.

    In each case, he appeals to stu­dents to reach out to Cam­pus Reform for infor­ma­tion, train­ing and orga­niz­ing assis­tance.

    The Guardian has dis­cov­ered evi­dence that Thomp­son was able to make con­nec­tions between stu­dents and mem­bers of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    A Feb­ru­ary 2011 guest post on the Cam­pus Reform web­site by a senior at Utah State Uni­ver­si­ty describes that student’s expe­ri­ences as a spon­sored attendee at the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC), which remains the prin­ci­pal annu­al gath­er­ing of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    The author writes: “Michael Thomp­son, my region­al field coor­di­na­tor … worked dili­gent­ly to put me in con­tact with indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions will­ing to help me with future activism efforts on my cam­pus.”

    RWW reports that Thomp­son worked at WND from at least Jan­u­ary 2012 to Novem­ber 2018.

    ...

    ———–

    “White nation­al­ist has long worked at con­ser­v­a­tive out­lets under real name” by Jason Wil­son; The Guardian; 02/03/2020

    “Accord­ing to an inves­ti­ga­tion by the not-for-prof­it media out­let Right Wing Watch (RWW), the man who has worked under the Kersey pseu­do­nym is in fact Michael J Thomp­son.”

    “Kersey” the neo-Nazi author hap­pens to be Michael J Thomp­son, a long-time main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive activist. That was what the Right-Wing Watch inves­ti­ga­tion revealed and the Guardian con­firmed. Sur­prise! But just because Thom­pon’s alter-ego was hid­den from the pub­lic does­n’t mean it was hid­den from his peers in the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. And as the inves­ti­ga­tion, Thomp­son was a “bare­ly under­ground mem­ber of the white nation­al­ist move­ment”. In oth­er words, his secret iden­ti­ty was­n’t much of a secret to the peo­ple he was direct­ly work­ing with:

    ...
    The Guardian has uncov­ered addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al that sup­ports report­ing by RWW, and fur­ther indi­cates Thompson’s role in mould­ing rightwing activists from a posi­tion near the heart of America’s most influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tions.

    The RWW inves­ti­ga­tion, pub­lished on Mon­day, reveals the work of “Paul Kersey”, whom it calls a “bare­ly under­ground mem­ber of the white nation­al­ist move­ment” and a fix­ture on the ros­ter of racist media out­lets and cam­paign groups.

    But it also shows that Thomp­son worked under his own name at insti­tu­tions like the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, its media arm Cam­pus Reform, and WND, for­mer­ly World Net Dai­ly, a once-pop­u­lar con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed con­ser­v­a­tive out­let, as late as Novem­ber 2018.

    ...

    But in 2010, RWW reports, he was named in a press release from the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute as work­ing in their cam­pus ser­vices pro­gram. The Guardian was able to con­firm this by access­ing an archived staff page for Cam­pus Reform, the Lead­er­ship Institute’s online vehi­cle for the pros­e­cu­tion of on-cam­pus cul­ture wars.

    The Lead­er­ship Insti­tute is one of the longest-stand­ing insti­tu­tions in the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, focused on train­ing young activists. It claims to have trained 200,000 such young con­ser­v­a­tives over 40 years, in skills includ­ing pub­lic speak­ing, cam­paign­ing and fundrais­ing.

    In a series of archived snap­shots from the Cam­pus Reform staff page from Sep­tem­ber 2009 to July 2010, Thomp­son was list­ed as cam­pus ser­vices coor­di­na­tor for the west­ern region. This sug­gests he began his pseu­do­ny­mous white nation­al­ist blog while employed by the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute and its media arm.
    ...

    And, as the ‘respectable’ Michael J. Thomp­son, he was­n’t just author­ing arti­cles for Cam­pus Reform, the media arm of the wild­ly influ­en­tial Lead­er­ship Insti­tute. He was also help­ing con­ser­v­a­tive col­lege stu­dents net­work with the broad­er Repub­li­can move­ment. It’s the kind of sit­u­a­tion that allowed for quite a bit of cryp­to-Nazi net­work­ing with the upcom­ing gen­er­a­tion of move­ment con­ser­v­a­tives:

    ...
    The Guardian has dis­cov­ered evi­dence that Thomp­son was able to make con­nec­tions between stu­dents and mem­bers of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    A Feb­ru­ary 2011 guest post on the Cam­pus Reform web­site by a senior at Utah State Uni­ver­si­ty describes that student’s expe­ri­ences as a spon­sored attendee at the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC), which remains the prin­ci­pal annu­al gath­er­ing of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    The author writes: “Michael Thomp­son, my region­al field coor­di­na­tor … worked dili­gent­ly to put me in con­tact with indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions will­ing to help me with future activism efforts on my cam­pus.”
    ...

    Now, here’s the Right-Wing Watch piece that gives more details on what they found about Thomp­son’s his­to­ry of pump­ing out ‘Alt Right’ con­tent at the same time he’s work­ing for orga­ni­za­tions like the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute and World Net Dai­ly. Cru­cial­ly, as the piece describes, this isn’t just the sto­ry of Thomp­son and his “bare­ly under­ground” work as a neo-Nazi author. This sto­ry is an exam­ple of a blue­print used by all sorts of neo-Nazis to infil­trate con­ser­v­a­tive insti­tu­tions. Fig­ures like for­mer Dai­ly Caller edi­tor Scott Greer and for­mer Lead­er­ship Insti­tute employ­ee Kevin DeAn­na. Greer and DeAn­na were both, like Thomp­son, pret­ty obvi­ous­ly neo-Nazis. And in both cas­es those obvi­ous neo-Nazi sym­pa­thies were ignored by their peers. And both were friends with Thomp­son. This isn’t the sto­ry of a neo-Nazi infil­trat­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment in plain site. It’s the sto­ry of a whole net­work of neo-Nazis infil­trat­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment in plain site:

    Right Wing Watch

    Hid­ing in Plain Sight: The White Nation­al­ist Who Toiled Inside a Right-Wing Media Pow­er­house

    By Jared Holt
    Feb­ru­ary 3, 2020 9:00 am

    The fol­low­ing arti­cle was report­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Angry White Men. It also appears on Angry White Men.

    Michael J. Thomp­son demand­ed that some­one turn down the “hor­ri­fy­ing music” so that he could intro­duce Scott Greer, then edi­tor of The Dai­ly Caller, whose first book Thomp­son had helped pub­lish. He took ner­vous pulls from a can of Coors Light beer as he addressed the crowd assem­bled in the offices of the right-wing pub­li­ca­tion, mix­ing self-dep­re­cat­ing jokes about the “Wal­mart spread” of food offered to guests and seem­ing­ly earnest calls to action.

    “Do not under­es­ti­mate the val­ue of your voice in influ­enc­ing peo­ple in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. You’ve got to keep fight­ing, because guess what, no one else is gonna do it. You have to do it,” Thomp­son told the crowd of peo­ple assem­bled on a March 2017 evening in down­town Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in remarks cap­tured in a Periscope video.

    Less than 24 hours before the par­ty, an arti­cle appeared on a blog oper­at­ed by Thomp­son; the author, writ­ing under the name Paul Kersey, claimed to know why peo­ple were sup­pos­ed­ly afraid to go trav­el to Bal­ti­more, Mary­land: “Blacks. Noth­ing more. Noth­ing less.” The clos­ing kick­er of the blog post stat­ed the writer’s prej­u­dice in stark terms: “No blacks, know peace; know blacks, no peace. It’s real­ly this sim­ple.” It is just one of more than 3,500 anal­o­gous arti­cles that exist today on Thompson’s blog, “Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like.”

    Thomp­son is just one of many mem­bers of the white nation­al­ist move­ment in the Unit­ed States that attempt­ed to rein­vent its pub­lic image with the “alt-right” moniker and rose to a flash of influ­ence in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics amid the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Don­ald J. Trump. Lead­ing up to that polit­i­cal moment, a clique of the movement’s believ­ers had sit­u­at­ed them­selves inside GOP-aligned insti­tu­tions and media out­lets in and around Wash­ing­ton, where they used the resources at their dis­pos­al to advance their cause. Thompson’s career took him inside the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, a pil­lar of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment for more than 40 years, and ulti­mate­ly to the right-wing tabloid-style web­site, World­Net­Dai­ly.

    The sto­ry of Thompson’s career is not one of a ran­dom inter­net blog­ger; it’s a blue­print that oth­ers have fol­lowed.

    A bare­ly under­ground mem­ber of the white nation­al­ist move­ment, Thomp­son has toiled undis­turbed, until recent­ly, in con­ser­v­a­tive spaces, even as a num­ber of his asso­ciates have since been exposed for sup­port­ing the move­ment that left blood in the streets of Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, at the 2017 Unite the Right white suprema­cist gath­er­ing.

    Right Wing Watch and Angry White Men, a not-for-prof­it blog track­ing fig­ures in the white suprema­cist move­ment, can report that Thomp­son is the pre­vi­ous­ly unknown author of racist mate­r­i­al that has appeared on blogs and the best-known white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tions for more than a decade under the Paul Kersey pen name. Angry White Men con­tributed in-depth research to this arti­cle while Right Wing Watch com­plet­ed the inves­tiga­tive report­ing.

    Enter­ing the Nucle­us of Con­ser­v­a­tive Media

    The halls of The Lead­er­ship Institute’s head­quar­ters are lined with pho­tographs of its dis­tin­guished alum­ni, visu­al mark­ers of its place in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics. Head­shots of notable graduates–figures includ­ing Ralph Reed, Rep. Jim Jor­dan, and even Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, among others–are arranged in a sin­gle row on each side of a long cor­ri­dor, all in iden­ti­cal frames. On any giv­en week, young con­ser­v­a­tives can attend events in its offices in Arling­ton, Vir­ginia, for train­ing in skills like pub­lic speak­ing, cre­ative design, cam­paign­ing, and fundrais­ing, and oppor­tu­ni­ties to hear dis­tin­guished guests from Capi­tol Hill and con­ser­v­a­tive media. On its web­site, the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute claims to have “trained more than 200,000 con­ser­v­a­tive activists, lead­ers, and stu­dents” since its found­ing in 1979. It was there that Michael Thomp­son appears to have entered con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics, work­ing as a mem­ber of the organization’s Cam­pus Ser­vices Pro­gram, accord­ing to 2010 press release.

    Dur­ing his tenure at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, it also appears Thomp­son wrote arti­cles for its Cam­pus Reform media out­let. Arti­cles bear­ing his byline have since been delet­ed but were cached via Google site-search results. Work­ing at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, Thomp­son grew close to white nation­al­ist Kevin DeAn­na, who was a leader of the Lead­er­ship Institute’s cam­pus lead­er­ship pro­gram and began writ­ing his blog, “Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like” (a play on the name of an inter­net-famous ear­ly 2000s satire blog, “Stuff White Peo­ple Like”). In 2011, Thomp­son authored his first col­umn for the racist pub­li­ca­tion VDARE, whose edi­tor, Peter Brimelow, is a reg­u­lar speak­er at far-right con­fer­ences and has par­tic­i­pat­ed in pan­el dis­cus­sions with Jared Tay­lor, founder of the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Renais­sance web­site, and Richard B. Spencer, the alt-right impre­sario who led the 2017 tiki-torch march at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia cam­pus in Char­lottesville on the eve of a vio­lent gath­er­ing of far-right groups in the cen­ter of town.

    You will bare­ly find a trace of Thompson’s years at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute on its website—or any­where, real­ly. Nei­ther Lead­er­ship Insti­tute Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Coor­di­na­tor Sarah Mor­ri­son nor Cam­pus Reform Edi­tor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips respond­ed to inquiries from Right Wing Watch seek­ing basic infor­ma­tion on Thompson’s posi­tion with the orga­ni­za­tion.

    After he left the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, Thomp­son joined the staff of World­Net­Dai­ly, a right-wing con­spir­a­cy-the­o­ry web­site aligned with the Repub­li­can Par­ty, where he worked in the mar­ket­ing depart­ment. The site is helmed by founder Joseph Farah, a Trump asso­ciate who helped the then-pres­i­den­tial hope­ful advance the false claim that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma was not born in the Unit­ed States.

    Thompson’s name appeared on WorldNetDaily’s mast­head as ear­ly as Jan. 29, 2012, and as late as Nov. 18, 2018, as pre­served in online snap­shot archives. Through­out his entire tenure at the dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tion run by one of Trump’s loud­est boost­ers, Thomp­son was moon­light­ing under a pseu­do­nym at racist and white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tions run by Brimelow and Tay­lor. Thompson’s work was scrubbed from the World­Net­Dai­ly site, but some of it was archived. World­Net­Dai­ly edi­tors, includ­ing Farah, failed to respond to Right Wing Watch’s emailed requests for com­ment.

    Thomp­son found him­self at World­Net­Dai­ly dur­ing the pin­na­cle of its ascen­dance in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. In its hey­day, Farah sought to expand World­Net­Dai­ly into a con­ser­v­a­tive media pow­er­house, pub­lish­ing books by Rep. Devin Nunes, who is now the rank­ing mem­ber of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, and right-wing activist Phyl­lis Schlafly, who died in 2016, not long after she endorsed Trump for pres­i­dent. Farah even launched a doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing com­pa­ny that pro­duced fea­ture-length movies about gun issues, Chris­tian­i­ty, and the sup­posed secret plots to under­mine West­ern civ­i­liza­tion. When Thomp­son was employed there, Farah and his out­let were enjoy­ing a renais­sance of sorts, estab­lish­ing World­Net­Dai­ly as a mill for the “birther move­ment,” as the racist nar­ra­tive ques­tion­ing Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate came to be known.

    Using his World­Net­Dai­ly posi­tion for access, Thomp­son rubbed shoul­ders with high-pro­file Repub­li­can politi­cians and pub­lish­ers. In 2012, Thomp­son b Joe Arpaio, then the sher­iff of Arizona’s Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, about Barack Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate and oth­er birtherism the­o­ries for World­Net­Dai­ly (the video has since been delet­ed from WorldNetDaily’s web­site).

    Dur­ing an appear­ance on “The Hag­mann Report” in 2017, Thomp­son boast­ed that he had been in con­tact with for­mer White House Chief Strate­gist Stephen K. Ban­non before Ban­non joined the Trump cam­paign. Ban­non did not respond to our request for com­ment.

    “You know, I used to share emails three or four times a week with Steve Ban­non before he was invit­ed to become part of the Trump cam­paign,” Thomp­son told “The Hag­mann Report” hosts Joe Hag­mann and Jon Rob­ber­son.

    In one email pro­vid­ed to Right Wing Watch and Angry White Men by for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor Katie McHugh, Thomp­son can be seen pitch­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Jerome Cor­si as a poten­tial guest on the Sir­iusXM radio pro­gram pro­duced by Bre­it­bart News, which Ban­non host­ed at the time. Ban­non declined, writ­ing back, “Zero inter­est,” and “Not a fan.” How­ev­er, Ban­non also instruct­ed Thomp­son to send “all your oth­er books” from World­Net­Dai­ly authors, pre­sum­ably for their radio-guest poten­tial.

    Thomp­son also appeared once on Alex Jones’ Infowars in 2017 using his real name.

    Ear­ly on, Farah and World­Net­Dai­ly stumped hard for Trump’s cam­paign, nam­ing Trump the WND man of the year in 2015, which Trump called an “amaz­ing hon­or.” The next year, Trump deliv­ered a keynote address at an Ari­zona event hon­or­ing Farah’s career, which first became notable for the effec­tive­ness with which Farah advanced con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries alleg­ing that the Clin­tons had been involved in the death of White House aide Vince Fos­ter. In 2011, Trump report­ed­ly solicit­ed advice from Farah regard­ing the strate­gic use of birther attacks on Oba­ma, and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence recent­ly employed Farah’s daugh­ter as his press sec­re­tary. (Farah’s daugh­ter is now the Pen­ta­gon press sec­re­tary and deputy assis­tant to the sec­re­tary of defense for media affairs.)

    For seem­ing­ly oth­er rea­sons, Thomp­son was at least as excit­ed about Trump’s can­di­da­cy as was his boss. Appear­ing in his “Paul Kersey” guise with the white nation­al­ist, alt-right Spencer on the pod­cast AltRight Radio, Thomp­son report­ed­ly said, “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again…That’s a syn­onym for Make Amer­i­ca White Again.” Spencer did not respond to our request for com­ment.

    Demys­ti­fy­ing ‘Paul Kersey’

    McHugh, the for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor, was friends with Thomp­son in his World­Net­Dai­ly days—she dat­ed Thompson’s bud­dy DeAn­na. McHugh was fired from Bre­it­bart News in 2017 for anti-Mus­lim tweets she post­ed after a ter­ror attack in Lon­don.

    On June 6, 2019, McHugh tweet­ed a pho­to of VDARE founder Peter Brimelow and his wife Lydia Brimelow that McHugh said was tak­en at Thompson’s 2014 wed­ding. In a fol­low-up tweet, McHugh alleged that Thomp­son was the author of Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like.

    I met McHugh for the first time at an apart­ment in Vir­ginia; we sat togeth­er on a bal­cony that over­looked an unre­mark­able patch of grass and a two-lane road. She recount­ed painful per­son­al sto­ries from her time involved in white nation­al­ist pol­i­tics and the trau­ma she expe­ri­enced while sep­a­rat­ing her­self from those cir­cles. Her voice was drenched in per­son­al regret; she feared that the hate she had par­tic­i­pat­ed in was gain­ing mean­ing­ful polit­i­cal pow­er in Amer­i­ca. She drank Diet Coke.

    McHugh pro­vid­ed Right Wing Watch with copies of emails in which Thomp­son is seen inter­act­ing, pri­mar­i­ly using his per­son­al email account, with oth­er white nation­al­ist activists and peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with Bre­it­bart News. Right Wing Watch was able to deter­mine that the emails shared by McHugh are authen­tic. (McHugh also pro­vid­ed emails to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter that appeared in a mul­ti-part inves­tiga­tive series exam­in­ing White House pol­i­cy advis­er Stephen Miller’s allu­sions to white nation­al­ism in com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Bre­it­bart staffers.)

    “It’s not enough to apol­o­gize. If you exit these move­ments, you must expose every mem­ber for [the sake of] pub­lic trans­paren­cy,” McHugh told Right Wing Watch and Angry White Men. “In my view, this is a pub­lic ser­vice.”

    McHugh said that Thompson’s side-gig of writ­ing and pub­lish­ing racist columns was com­mon knowl­edge among his cir­cle of friends in Wash­ing­ton, who would often refer to his alter-ego sim­ply as “PK.”

    Thomp­son emailed McHugh in March 2016 to ask her to for­ward a ques­tion to DeAn­na about whether “PB”—initials that McHugh said were meant to stand for VDARE’s Brimelow—was expect­ing an arti­cle from Thomp­son. Mar­cus Epstein, an anti-immi­grant activist who in 2007 plead­ed guilty to assault­ing a black woman after call­ing her the “n‑word,” is also includ­ed on the email chain, in which the group dis­cuss­es evening get-togeth­er plans.

    [Mar. 12, 2016] Michael J. Thomp­son: “Bull Run Win­ery. Tomor­row. 1 p.m. It’s quite nice and over looks the bat­tle­field.”

    Mar­cus Epstein: “Actu­al­ly, it says it’s going to rain all day tomor­row. Come over to our house tonight.”

    Katie McHugh: “Kevin’s hav­ing Avi over tonight. It’s going to be a Minecraft marathon ;)”

    Michael J. Thomp­son: “Hey, Ask Minecraft Kevin if he still needs this piece for PB.”

    Accord­ing to SPLC, DeAn­na claimed the title of founder of the now defunct far-right Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion stu­dent group, where Epstein, who has authored columns for VDARE, served as nation­al vice pres­i­dent. At its found­ing, DeAnna’s group received enthu­si­as­tic sup­port from white nation­al­ists. SPLC reports that DeAn­na also worked in WorldNetDaily’s mar­ket­ing depart­ment, but his byline stops appear­ing on the site in Octo­ber 2012.

    Arti­cles writ­ten under the Paul Kersey byline at the racist pub­li­ca­tions VDARE and Amer­i­can Renais­sance cite him as the author of Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like. Thomp­son also fundraised through these plat­forms. Through VDARE’s non­prof­it sta­tus, fans of Paul Kersey could make tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tions to their favorite writer (Thomp­son) on VDARE’s web­site, accord­ing to a Nov. 9 post on Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like. In the same blog post, “Kersey” tells read­ers they can also send cash, check, or mon­ey order to the same post office box used by Amer­i­can Renais­sance.

    ***

    As Thomp­son set­tled into his sta­tus as a white nation­al­ist colum­nist, he began appear­ing as Paul Kersey more fre­quent­ly on cause-aligned pod­casts and radio pro­grams. Right Wing Watch hired one of the nation’s lead­ing cer­ti­fied foren­sic audio con­sul­tants to per­form bio­met­ric voice iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­par­ing record­ings of Thomp­son speak­ing on video for World­Net­Dai­ly with audio sam­ples of the voice record­ed as Paul Kersey on dif­fer­ent web-host­ed audio programs—The Polit­i­cal Cesspool, Red Ice TV, and Amer­i­can Renaissance—over a mul­ti­year span.

    The audio foren­sic expert hired by Right Wing Watch, who asked not to be named due to this report’s sub­ject mat­ter and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he and his employ­ees would be tar­get­ed for threats and vio­lence, has con­sult­ed for many nation­al media out­lets and tes­ti­fied as an expert wit­ness in local, state, and fed­er­al courts across the Unit­ed States.

    SIS II soft­ware was used to deter­mine that the three “Paul Kersey” voice record­ings pro­vid­ed by Right Wing Watch matched the Thomp­son voice record­ing with prob­a­bil­i­ties of 92.9 per­cent, 98.5 per­cent, and 99.3 per­cent. The foren­sic con­sul­tant said that “even if some­body tries to dis­guise their voice,” the soft­ware can still map data points and do com­par­a­tive analy­sis “inde­pen­dent of sub­jec­tive inter­pre­ta­tion.”

    The foren­sic con­sul­tant told Right Wing Watch that if they were called to tes­ti­fy under oath before a court and asked what the odds were that the results from the com­par­i­son between sam­ples of Thomp­son and Paul Kersey voic­es were inac­cu­rate, that they would say, “there are no odds that the voic­es are dif­fer­ent. They are the same voic­es.”

    Addi­tion­al­ly, in pod­cast appear­ances where “Paul Kersey” announced his age, it aligned with that of Thomp­son. Today, Thomp­son is in his mid-thir­ties.

    “There is an infil­tra­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive media by white nation­al­ists, espe­cial­ly those work­ing in D.C., and pub­li­ca­tions either ignored it or were com­plic­it,” McHugh explained. “I think that they’re aware, and they choose to do noth­ing about it except qui­et­ly fire peo­ple when it becomes too pub­licly embar­rass­ing.”

    Pulling Levers at World­Net­Dai­ly

    It was not so long ago that World­Net­Dai­ly was among the most-read con­ser­v­a­tive pub­li­ca­tions online, but its impact is wan­ing, and the com­pa­ny is bleed­ing funds. Thomp­son appears to have depart­ed the com­pa­ny dur­ing a time peri­od where the site was report­ed­ly hav­ing finan­cial trou­ble and lay­ing off employ­ees. But before he left, Thomp­son used his posi­tion inside the com­pa­ny to turn a for­mer cowork­er into a pub­lished author.

    Thomp­son and Scott Greer, a for­mer edi­tor and colum­nist at The Dai­ly Caller, a con­ser­v­a­tive web­site found­ed by Fox News per­son­al­i­ty Tuck­er Carl­son, were per­son­al friends who lived togeth­er in Arling­ton in a home they sar­cas­ti­cal­ly dubbed the “hate house,” McHugh said. (The home has since been acquired by new own­ers.)

    In 2017, with Thompson’s assis­tance, Greer wrote a book called “No Cam­pus for White Men: The Trans­for­ma­tion of High­er Edu­ca­tion into Hate­ful Indoc­tri­na­tion” for WND Books, the pub­lish­ing arm of Farah’s media enter­prise. Milo Yiannopou­los wrote the book’s fore­word and enthu­si­as­tic blurbs from Tuck­er Carl­son, pro-Trump social media per­son­al­i­ty Mike Cer­novich, and right-wing colum­nist Diana West appear on the book’s jack­et. Between the cov­ers is Greer’s ode to aggriev­ed white men on col­lege cam­pus­es who believe diver­si­ty and inclu­sion efforts will lead to their per­il.

    A year lat­er, Rosie Gray, writ­ing for The Atlantic, pub­licly revealed Greer as the author behind a pseu­do­nym that appeared in Spencer’s white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion Radix Jour­nal, caus­ing Greer to resign as con­trib­u­tor to The Dai­ly Caller.

    Emails show that Thomp­son was ful­ly aware of Greer’s racist polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy before he worked with Greer to pub­lish his book with World­Net­Dai­ly. On Jan. 31, 2016, Thomp­son emailed a group of his like-mind­ed friends, includ­ing Greer, telling them to read an arti­cle on Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, the blog oper­at­ed by Bradley Dean Grif­fin of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate hate group League of the South. The next day, the email con­ver­sa­tion turned to pre­dic­tions for the results of the 2016 Iowa cau­cus, and Thomp­son referred to “Michael McGre­gor,” the name Greer used in Radix Jour­nal. Greer did not respond to our request for com­ment.

    [Feb. 1, 2016] Michael J. Thomp­son: “You sound just as con­spir­a­to­r­i­al as those claim­ing Trump is in the race to pave the road for Hillary!

    They won’t steal this elec­tion.

    Trump will win, or else it’s a bot­tle of Jack for every­one (a Diet Coke for Mar­cus [Epstein]).”

    Kevin DeAn­na: “The new one is out – [link to pro-Trump video com­pi­la­tion]”

    Michael J. Thomp­son: “Oh, and if I’m right about Trump win­ning, we get to see Michael Mcgre­gor return to RJ [Radix Jour­nal]! At least for one arti­cle.”

    When it came time to cel­e­brate Greer’s book launch at The Dai­ly Caller offices in down­town D.C. on March 31, 2017, Thomp­son invit­ed a laun­dry list of white nation­al­ists, includ­ing then-Bre­it­bart reporter Ian Mason, Amer­i­can Renais­sance edi­tor Devin Sauci­er, for­mer Media Research Cen­ter staffer Tim Dion­isopou­los, ex-DHS ana­lyst Ian Smith, Epstein, and McHugh. Sauci­er and Epstein are con­firmed to have attend­ed, the lat­ter of whom Thomp­son gave a shout-out dur­ing his remarks intro­duc­ing Greer, as seen in a Periscope broad­cast uploaded by long­time far-right oper­a­tive Jack Poso­biec (now a host for One Amer­i­ca News Net­work). Thomp­son thanked peo­ple from Bre­it­bart and CNS News for attend­ing the par­ty, and told them that they “have to keep fight­ing.”

    Thomp­son went on to recount meet­ing Greer short­ly after Greer’s col­lege grad­u­a­tion and said he had watched him become “one of the top polemi­cists” at The Dai­ly Caller and a voice for “the emerg­ing new right.” Thomp­son used his speech to give a shout-out to “MAGA3X,” which was a coali­tion of white nation­al­ists and Trump sup­port­ers who sought to game social media in sup­port of Trump’s can­di­da­cy. Poso­biec report­ed­ly helped lead the loose­ly defined MAGA3X coali­tion and told Right Wing Watch he was unaware of any role Thomp­son held with­in that alliance.

    The room filled with most­ly kha­ki-clad young white men broke out into chants of “Build the Wall!” and “CNN sucks!” after Thompson’s remarks. Atten­dees flaunt­ed images pop­u­lar­ized with­in the alt-right, includ­ing “Kek­istan” flags and images of Pepe the Frog.

    Flack­ing “No Cam­pus for White Men,” Thomp­son repeat­ed­ly emailed McHugh to ask that Greer be fea­tured as a guest on Breitbart’s Sir­iusXM radio pro­gram and asked her to pub­lish a review of the book on the Bre­it­bart site. Greer nev­er was booked on Breitbart’s radio pro­gram, and McHugh did not write a review of his book; how­ev­er, Greer appeared across con­ser­v­a­tive media at the time—including on Carlson’s Fox News show.

    McHugh said that Thomp­son approached her about the oppor­tu­ni­ty to write a book, as Greer had, for WorldNetDaily’s pub­lish­ing arm about the opi­oid cri­sis to be called “White Death.” McHugh says she declined the offer.

    White nation­al­ists appar­ent­ly believed they could count on Thomp­son to do their bid­ding inside the con­ser­v­a­tive media sys­tem, vis-a-vis his day job at World­Net­Dai­ly. On March 15, 2016, Tay­lor, edi­tor of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, emailed an embar­goed copy of a report called “Col­or of Crime” to McHugh, DeAn­na, and Thomp­son, ask­ing if they could get the report men­tioned in their respec­tive pub­li­ca­tions:

    [Mar. 15, 2016] Jared Tay­lor: “Dear Michael, Kevin, and Katie,

    We are about to release the updat­ed Col­or of Crime and I thought you might want to take a look at an advance copy.

    The report is embar­goed until this Fri­day, but it would, of course, be great if WND or Bre­it­bart could men­tion it.

    This is all based on very sober analy­sis of gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics, and I think the data and con­clu­sions are bul­let proof. The report is by New Cen­tu­ry Foun­da­tion and doesn’t say AmRen on it any­where, though the link to us is easy to find.

    I think it’s damn good and I just wish it could break into the main­stream.

    Chief author is Ed Ruben­stein.

    Best regards,

    Jared”

    Nei­ther McHugh nor Thomp­son pub­lished arti­cles direct­ly cit­ing New Cen­tu­ry Foundation’s report, but the email makes clear that Tay­lor saw Thomp­son as an indi­vid­ual who could help him break his racist pro­pa­gan­da “into the main­stream.”

    More Than a Decade of Racist Mate­r­i­al

    Paul Kersey is the name of the main char­ac­ter in the “Death Wish” film series. Kersey is a bleed­ing-heart lib­er­al who roams the streets search­ing for crim­i­nals to mur­der in the name of vig­i­lante jus­tice after his wife and daugh­ter are beat­en and raped. In a scene from the first film, released in 1974, cock­tail-par­ty guests can be heard dis­cussing the vig­i­lante mur­ders.

    ...

    His Near­ly Clean Get­away

    The pave­ment was wet and the sub­ur­ban side­walks qui­et in a mid­dle-class neigh­bor­hood sprung from the ruins of a coal-min­ing town after the mine closed down. Most of the white wood mail­box posts dis­play the last name of the fam­i­ly that resides in the home they belong to, but the post is blank where Thomp­son is thought to live in Mid­loth­i­an, Vir­ginia.

    Track­ing down Thomp­son was a dif­fi­cult task, due to how dili­gent he has been in obscur­ing his iden­ti­ty and main­tain­ing a low pro­file in con­ser­v­a­tive soci­ety since his time at World­Net­Dai­ly. When I drove by the home, I caught only a glimpse of a man who I thought looked like Thomp­son, and who with­drew inside his garage after I stopped my vehi­cle in front of his home. Mul­ti­ple attempts to reach Thomp­son via email failed. His neigh­bors declined to talk to us.

    We were unable to deter­mine whether Thomp­son con­tin­ues to work any­where using his real name, or if his income comes pri­mar­i­ly from his role with­in the white nation­al­ist move­ment. Thompson’s for­mer col­leagues, employ­ers, and friends declined to speak with us, except for Epstein, who called us and then declined to be inter­viewed after we informed him about this report’s sub­ject mat­ter.

    Thomp­son seem­ing­ly maneu­vered him­self into the heart of right-wing pol­i­tics in Wash­ing­ton and escaped with­out a scratch, unlike many of his peers who saw their careers implode. It’s not clear who knew about Thompson’s moon­light­ing and to what extent he is still in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with employ­ees at right-wing media out­lets and The Lead­er­ship Insti­tute.

    I tried to imag­ine Thomp­son com­ing back to the two-sto­ry home in the sub­urbs of Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, turn­ing into the gen­tle curves of the road and rolling up the dri­ve­way to greet his chil­dren; it’s a serene pic­ture of an unas­sum­ing Amer­i­can life. But online, Thomp­son authors vit­ri­olic mate­r­i­al for racist web­sites that Trump’s top pol­i­cy advis­er on immi­gra­tion appar­ent­ly reads. That much he can no longer hide.

    ———–

    “Hid­ing in Plain Sight: The White Nation­al­ist Who Toiled Inside a Right-Wing Media Pow­er­house” by Jared Holt; Right Wing Watch; 02/03/2020

    “The sto­ry of Thompson’s career is not one of a ran­dom inter­net blog­ger; it’s a blue­print that oth­ers have fol­lowed.”

    The sto­ry of Thomp­son is the sto­ry of one exam­ple of a broad­er blue­print that’s been used over and over to infil­trate the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. That’s what makes this such an impor­tant sto­ry. It’s just an exam­ple of a much big­ger sto­ry about the takeover of the GOP and con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment infra­struc­ture by white nation­al­ist. An takeover that was­n’t a secret accord­ing to Katie McHugh, the for­mer Bre­it­bart employ­ee who was part of this white nation­al­ist move­ment with­in the larg­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. As McHugh put it, “I think that they’re aware, and they choose to do noth­ing about it except qui­et­ly fire peo­ple when it becomes too pub­licly embar­rass­ing”:

    ...
    Thomp­son is just one of many mem­bers of the white nation­al­ist move­ment in the Unit­ed States that attempt­ed to rein­vent its pub­lic image with the “alt-right” moniker and rose to a flash of influ­ence in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics amid the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Don­ald J. Trump. Lead­ing up to that polit­i­cal moment, a clique of the movement’s believ­ers had sit­u­at­ed them­selves inside GOP-aligned insti­tu­tions and media out­lets in and around Wash­ing­ton, where they used the resources at their dis­pos­al to advance their cause. Thompson’s career took him inside the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, a pil­lar of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment for more than 40 years, and ulti­mate­ly to the right-wing tabloid-style web­site, World­Net­Dai­ly.

    ...

    A bare­ly under­ground mem­ber of the white nation­al­ist move­ment, Thomp­son has toiled undis­turbed, until recent­ly, in con­ser­v­a­tive spaces, even as a num­ber of his asso­ciates have since been exposed for sup­port­ing the move­ment that left blood in the streets of Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, at the 2017 Unite the Right white suprema­cist gath­er­ing.

    ...

    “There is an infil­tra­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive media by white nation­al­ists, espe­cial­ly those work­ing in D.C., and pub­li­ca­tions either ignored it or were com­plic­it,” McHugh explained. “I think that they’re aware, and they choose to do noth­ing about it except qui­et­ly fire peo­ple when it becomes too pub­licly embar­rass­ing.”
    ...

    One notable exam­ple of anoth­er fig­ure who fol­lowed Thomp­son’s blue­print was Kevin DeAn­na, a fel­low white nation­al­ist who worked with Thomp­son at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute. McHugh used to date DeAn­na:

    ...
    Dur­ing his tenure at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, it also appears Thomp­son wrote arti­cles for its Cam­pus Reform media out­let. Arti­cles bear­ing his byline have since been delet­ed but were cached via Google site-search results. Work­ing at the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, Thomp­son grew close to white nation­al­ist Kevin DeAn­na, who was a leader of the Lead­er­ship Institute’s cam­pus lead­er­ship pro­gram and began writ­ing his blog, “Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like” (a play on the name of an inter­net-famous ear­ly 2000s satire blog, “Stuff White Peo­ple Like”). In 2011, Thomp­son authored his first col­umn for the racist pub­li­ca­tion VDARE, whose edi­tor, Peter Brimelow, is a reg­u­lar speak­er at far-right con­fer­ences and has par­tic­i­pat­ed in pan­el dis­cus­sions with Jared Tay­lor, founder of the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Renais­sance web­site, and Richard B. Spencer, the alt-right impre­sario who led the 2017 tiki-torch march at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vir­ginia cam­pus in Char­lottesville on the eve of a vio­lent gath­er­ing of far-right groups in the cen­ter of town.

    ...

    McHugh, the for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor, was friends with Thomp­son in his World­Net­Dai­ly days—she dat­ed Thompson’s bud­dy DeAn­na. McHugh was fired from Bre­it­bart News in 2017 for anti-Mus­lim tweets she post­ed after a ter­ror attack in Lon­don.

    On June 6, 2019, McHugh tweet­ed a pho­to of VDARE founder Peter Brimelow and his wife Lydia Brimelow that McHugh said was tak­en at Thompson’s 2014 wed­ding. In a fol­low-up tweet, McHugh alleged that Thomp­son was the author of Stuff Black Peo­ple Don’t Like.

    I met McHugh for the first time at an apart­ment in Vir­ginia; we sat togeth­er on a bal­cony that over­looked an unre­mark­able patch of grass and a two-lane road. She recount­ed painful per­son­al sto­ries from her time involved in white nation­al­ist pol­i­tics and the trau­ma she expe­ri­enced while sep­a­rat­ing her­self from those cir­cles. Her voice was drenched in per­son­al regret; she feared that the hate she had par­tic­i­pat­ed in was gain­ing mean­ing­ful polit­i­cal pow­er in Amer­i­ca. She drank Diet Coke.

    McHugh pro­vid­ed Right Wing Watch with copies of emails in which Thomp­son is seen inter­act­ing, pri­mar­i­ly using his per­son­al email account, with oth­er white nation­al­ist activists and peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with Bre­it­bart News. Right Wing Watch was able to deter­mine that the emails shared by McHugh are authen­tic. (McHugh also pro­vid­ed emails to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter that appeared in a mul­ti-part inves­tiga­tive series exam­in­ing White House pol­i­cy advis­er Stephen Miller’s allu­sions to white nation­al­ism in com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Bre­it­bart staffers.)

    “It’s not enough to apol­o­gize. If you exit these move­ments, you must expose every mem­ber for [the sake of] pub­lic trans­paren­cy,” McHugh told Right Wing Watch and Angry White Men. “In my view, this is a pub­lic ser­vice.”

    McHugh said that Thompson’s side-gig of writ­ing and pub­lish­ing racist columns was com­mon knowl­edge among his cir­cle of friends in Wash­ing­ton, who would often refer to his alter-ego sim­ply as “PK.”

    ...

    Accord­ing to SPLC, DeAn­na claimed the title of founder of the now defunct far-right Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion stu­dent group, where Epstein, who has authored columns for VDARE, served as nation­al vice pres­i­dent. At its found­ing, DeAnna’s group received enthu­si­as­tic sup­port from white nation­al­ists. SPLC reports that DeAn­na also worked in WorldNetDaily’s mar­ket­ing depart­ment, but his byline stops appear­ing on the site in Octo­ber 2012.

    ...

    White nation­al­ists appar­ent­ly believed they could count on Thomp­son to do their bid­ding inside the con­ser­v­a­tive media sys­tem, vis-a-vis his day job at World­Net­Dai­ly. On March 15, 2016, Tay­lor, edi­tor of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, emailed an embar­goed copy of a report called “Col­or of Crime” to McHugh, DeAn­na, and Thomp­son, ask­ing if they could get the report men­tioned in their respec­tive pub­li­ca­tions:

    ...

    Nei­ther McHugh nor Thomp­son pub­lished arti­cles direct­ly cit­ing New Cen­tu­ry Foundation’s report, but the email makes clear that Tay­lor saw Thomp­son as an indi­vid­ual who could help him break his racist pro­pa­gan­da “into the main­stream.”
    ...

    After leav­ing the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, Thomp­son joing World­Net­Dai­ly dur­ing the peri­od when the pub­li­ca­tion was becom­ing a major con­ser­v­a­tive media out­let:

    ...
    After he left the Lead­er­ship Insti­tute, Thomp­son joined the staff of World­Net­Dai­ly, a right-wing con­spir­a­cy-the­o­ry web­site aligned with the Repub­li­can Par­ty, where he worked in the mar­ket­ing depart­ment. The site is helmed by founder Joseph Farah, a Trump asso­ciate who helped the then-pres­i­den­tial hope­ful advance the false claim that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma was not born in the Unit­ed States.

    Thompson’s name appeared on WorldNetDaily’s mast­head as ear­ly as Jan. 29, 2012, and as late as Nov. 18, 2018, as pre­served in online snap­shot archives. Through­out his entire tenure at the dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tion run by one of Trump’s loud­est boost­ers, Thomp­son was moon­light­ing under a pseu­do­nym at racist and white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tions run by Brimelow and Tay­lor. Thompson’s work was scrubbed from the World­Net­Dai­ly site, but some of it was archived. World­Net­Dai­ly edi­tors, includ­ing Farah, failed to respond to Right Wing Watch’s emailed requests for com­ment.

    Thomp­son found him­self at World­Net­Dai­ly dur­ing the pin­na­cle of its ascen­dance in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. In its hey­day, Farah sought to expand World­Net­Dai­ly into a con­ser­v­a­tive media pow­er­house, pub­lish­ing books by Rep. Devin Nunes, who is now the rank­ing mem­ber of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, and right-wing activist Phyl­lis Schlafly, who died in 2016, not long after she endorsed Trump for pres­i­dent. Farah even launched a doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing com­pa­ny that pro­duced fea­ture-length movies about gun issues, Chris­tian­i­ty, and the sup­posed secret plots to under­mine West­ern civ­i­liza­tion. When Thomp­son was employed there, Farah and his out­let were enjoy­ing a renais­sance of sorts, estab­lish­ing World­Net­Dai­ly as a mill for the “birther move­ment,” as the racist nar­ra­tive ques­tion­ing Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate came to be known.
    ...

    And it was it World­Net­Dai­ly that Thomp­son was rub­bing shoul­ders with all sorts of high-pro­file fig­ures in the Repub­li­can Par­ty and con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. Includ­ing Steve Ban­non, arguably the con­tem­po­rary leader of the white nation­al­ist takeover of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment:

    ...
    Using his World­Net­Dai­ly posi­tion for access, Thomp­son rubbed shoul­ders with high-pro­file Repub­li­can politi­cians and pub­lish­ers. In 2012, Thomp­son b Joe Arpaio, then the sher­iff of Arizona’s Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, about Barack Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate and oth­er birtherism the­o­ries for World­Net­Dai­ly (the video has since been delet­ed from WorldNetDaily’s web­site).

    Dur­ing an appear­ance on “The Hag­mann Report” in 2017, Thomp­son boast­ed that he had been in con­tact with for­mer White House Chief Strate­gist Stephen K. Ban­non before Ban­non joined the Trump cam­paign. Ban­non did not respond to our request for com­ment.

    “You know, I used to share emails three or four times a week with Steve Ban­non before he was invit­ed to become part of the Trump cam­paign,” Thomp­son told “The Hag­mann Report” hosts Joe Hag­mann and Jon Rob­ber­son.
    ...

    And it was at World Net Dai­ly that Thomp­son helped pub­lish the book of anoth­er white nation­al­ist fig­ure oper­at­ing in these cir­cles: Scott Greer, a for­mer edi­tor and colum­nist at The Dai­ly Caller. Keep in mind that The Dai­ly Caller has been push­ing the enve­lope of inject­ing ‘Alt Right’ memes into main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive thought for year and was start­ed by Tuck­er Carl­son, who is one of the top Fox News per­son­al­i­ty these days. Also recall how the Dai­ly Caller is behind one of the orga­ni­za­tions Face­book chose to pro­vide news ‘fact check­ing’. It’s an exam­ple of how wild­ly suc­cess­ful the ‘Alt Right’ has been at main­stream­ing itself and the crit­i­cal role main­stream-ish out­lets like the Dai­ly Caller have played in this. Greer and Thomp­son were just fol­low­ing this blue­print. A blue­print that relies on the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment qui­et­ly ignor­ing the fact that a grow­ing num­ber of fig­ures in this move­ment are neo-Nazis like Greer and Thomp­son:

    ...
    Thomp­son and Scott Greer, a for­mer edi­tor and colum­nist at The Dai­ly Caller, a con­ser­v­a­tive web­site found­ed by Fox News per­son­al­i­ty Tuck­er Carl­son, were per­son­al friends who lived togeth­er in Arling­ton in a home they sar­cas­ti­cal­ly dubbed the “hate house,” McHugh said. (The home has since been acquired by new own­ers.)

    In 2017, with Thompson’s assis­tance, Greer wrote a book called “No Cam­pus for White Men: The Trans­for­ma­tion of High­er Edu­ca­tion into Hate­ful Indoc­tri­na­tion” for WND Books, the pub­lish­ing arm of Farah’s media enter­prise. Milo Yiannopou­los wrote the book’s fore­word and enthu­si­as­tic blurbs from Tuck­er Carl­son, pro-Trump social media per­son­al­i­ty Mike Cer­novich, and right-wing colum­nist Diana West appear on the book’s jack­et. Between the cov­ers is Greer’s ode to aggriev­ed white men on col­lege cam­pus­es who believe diver­si­ty and inclu­sion efforts will lead to their per­il.

    A year lat­er, Rosie Gray, writ­ing for The Atlantic, pub­licly revealed Greer as the author behind a pseu­do­nym that appeared in Spencer’s white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion Radix Jour­nal, caus­ing Greer to resign as con­trib­u­tor to The Dai­ly Caller.

    Emails show that Thomp­son was ful­ly aware of Greer’s racist polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy before he worked with Greer to pub­lish his book with World­Net­Dai­ly. On Jan. 31, 2016, Thomp­son emailed a group of his like-mind­ed friends, includ­ing Greer, telling them to read an arti­cle on Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, the blog oper­at­ed by Bradley Dean Grif­fin of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate hate group League of the South. The next day, the email con­ver­sa­tion turned to pre­dic­tions for the results of the 2016 Iowa cau­cus, and Thomp­son referred to “Michael McGre­gor,” the name Greer used in Radix Jour­nal. Greer did not respond to our request for com­ment.

    ...

    When it came time to cel­e­brate Greer’s book launch at The Dai­ly Caller offices in down­town D.C. on March 31, 2017, Thomp­son invit­ed a laun­dry list of white nation­al­ists, includ­ing then-Bre­it­bart reporter Ian Mason, Amer­i­can Renais­sance edi­tor Devin Sauci­er, for­mer Media Research Cen­ter staffer Tim Dion­isopou­los, ex-DHS ana­lyst Ian Smith, Epstein, and McHugh. Sauci­er and Epstein are con­firmed to have attend­ed, the lat­ter of whom Thomp­son gave a shout-out dur­ing his remarks intro­duc­ing Greer, as seen in a Periscope broad­cast uploaded by long­time far-right oper­a­tive Jack Poso­biec (now a host for One Amer­i­ca News Net­work). Thomp­son thanked peo­ple from Bre­it­bart and CNS News for attend­ing the par­ty, and told them that they “have to keep fight­ing.”

    Thomp­son went on to recount meet­ing Greer short­ly after Greer’s col­lege grad­u­a­tion and said he had watched him become “one of the top polemi­cists” at The Dai­ly Caller and a voice for “the emerg­ing new right.” Thomp­son used his speech to give a shout-out to “MAGA3X,” which was a coali­tion of white nation­al­ists and Trump sup­port­ers who sought to game social media in sup­port of Trump’s can­di­da­cy. Poso­biec report­ed­ly helped lead the loose­ly defined MAGA3X coali­tion and told Right Wing Watch he was unaware of any role Thomp­son held with­in that alliance.
    ...

    Final­ly, note that Right-Wing Watch has­n’t been able to deter­mine if Thomp­son is still pub­lish­ing his ‘Alt Right’ con­tent, whether under his real name or a pseu­do­nym. So there’s a good chance there’s more to this sto­ry yet to come:

    ...
    We were unable to deter­mine whether Thomp­son con­tin­ues to work any­where using his real name, or if his income comes pri­mar­i­ly from his role with­in the white nation­al­ist move­ment. Thompson’s for­mer col­leagues, employ­ers, and friends declined to speak with us, except for Epstein, who called us and then declined to be inter­viewed after we informed him about this report’s sub­ject mat­ter.

    Thomp­son seem­ing­ly maneu­vered him­self into the heart of right-wing pol­i­tics in Wash­ing­ton and escaped with­out a scratch, unlike many of his peers who saw their careers implode. It’s not clear who knew about Thompson’s moon­light­ing and to what extent he is still in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with employ­ees at right-wing media out­lets and The Lead­er­ship Insti­tute.
    ...

    We’ll see if we learn more in the future about Thomp­son writ­ings, whether they’re under his own name or some sort of neo-Nazi pseu­do­nym. But it’s pret­ty clear from this inves­ti­ga­tion that there’s going to be a lot more Thomp­sons or Greers and DeAn­nas hid­ing out in the con­ser­v­a­tive main­stream. Hid­ing out in plain site. Which isn’t real­ly hid­ing. It’s main­stream­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 8, 2020, 5:05 pm

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